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Jaguars tap celebrities for NFL schedule release video

‘Ghost’ actor and Jaguars fan Asher Grodman directs coach Doug Pederson during the making of the team’s schedule release video.Kam Nedd/Jaguars

NFL teams often coax celebrity fans into making cameo appearances at games or in social content, but the Jaguars got several days of work from longtime fan CBS sitcom star Asher Grodman to create their timeline release video.

Grodman, best known for the “Ghosts” series, wrote, directed and starred in the team’s video released Thursday night, their entry into fierce competition for virality and buzz among NFL club content creators. . Grodman said he was happy to provide his labor and time at no cost.

“If an NFL team came to you and said, ‘Hey, could you write it, direct it, be in it, and help us do it? and you said ‘No’, I think you’d be a jerk,” Grodman said. “It’s the coolest thing you can do. I mean, come on.

The Jags’ creative concept began with former NFLer RB Arian Foster’s outlandish claim in February that the NFL is “scripted.” Around this time, Nick Birdsong, the Jags’ director of social and digital media, and Everett Sullivan, director of creative media, began planning a schedule release video and enlisted Grodman, who pushed this concept: If the NFL is scripted, what else has to be true?

This has led to jokes about players and coaches struggling to learn their lines, stay coordinated on a massive lie, and learn how to act. Grodman mainly plays the straight man, cooking up the jokes.

SOCIAL STATUS: Over the past few years, NFL content teams have come to see the release of the schedule as a chance to shine, always trying to outdo each other in creativity, humor and, in some cases, screen value. shock. The business goal of calendar posts is to drive single game ticket sales, but unofficially everyone in social/digital content wants to have the most talked about video every May.

If the Jaguars win this battle, it could be down to the toughest part of production: the scale of the turnout they got from the locker room. The video features 12 players (including QB Trevor Lawrence), coach Doug Pederson, owner Shad Khan, HOFer Tony Boselli and the team’s play-by-play radio broadcaster Frank Frangie.

“Rugging around with everyone, getting all these people on board, was a testament, I think, to the organization, but also a testament to the concept,” Sullivan said. “I was introducing the players to their first day in the building. … I think I pitched 10 guys, and they all said yes.

FAN RECOVERY: Grodman isn’t exactly a household name, but any kind of star cultural power is a step in the right direction for the Jaguars, who have long struggled to expand their fanbase and identity beyond northeast Florida. The enthusiasm around HQ for the project was, in part, a reflection of the general mood around the club, which last season ended a streak of last four consecutive places with an AFC South Championship.

“We had the opportunity to sell hope, and now we can sell production,” Birdsong said. “We can talk about what we are doing in the present.”

Like many other teams, the Jags wanted their schedule post video to have an edge, maybe even a slight controversy. The whole idea of ​​the NFL being scripted is mildly subversive, and before the video aired, Sullivan and Birdsong foreshadowed some jokes that might raise eyebrows in the normally closed NFL. “Our goal is to walk to the line, maybe take a few steps beyond it, and then have [Jaguars Director of Communications] Amanda [Holt] say, ‘Hey, no, no, no,'” Sullivan said.

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